The fireplace is almost always a focal point in living room designs. However, when things warm up – there’s rarely a fire for your eyes to get lost in. This is where the mantel comes into play. Using the right combination of art and accent pieces, your mantel will become the focal point that draws the eye away from the empty cavern of a fireplace until next winter rolls around.
Here are inspiring ideas to style your fireplace mantel.
The mantel itself. If you are living in a standard home, rather than one you designed, odds are your mantel is blah. You can dress it up, using the suggestions below, or you might want to just swap it out altogether. The custom fireplace and mantel in this San Francisco living room hardly needs adornment. Or, if above-the-fireplace is the only option for mounting your television, consider using a unique piece of driftwood or other material to clearly divide the fireplace from the entertainment center.
Hang an art piece. The most traditional method for decorating a mantel is to hang a stunning art piece above it. The colors will draw the eye up, and you can flank it on either side with sconces, or set complementary accents on each side of the mantel, keeping the mid-portion of the mantel free so nothing competes with the art.
The space above the mantel is also a wonderful spot for an accent wall – or section of wall. If a solid color doesn’t appeal to you, consider using wall paper with a beautiful print.
Use mirrors. In lieu of a work of art, you can also search for just the right mirror. In many cases, the mirror itself is a work of art. There are several benefits to using a mirror. If you have a smaller living or bedroom space with a fireplace, the mirror will help to make the space seem larger. If you plan ahead of time, you can make sure that the mirror reflects something beautiful from the opposite side of the room, so that particular accent does double duty. If you have a gorgeous suspended light fixture, you can work with the mirror placement so that it reflects the light, which adds a nice twinkly bonus once the sun sets.
Draw the eye. The mantel can be the icing on the fireplace cake. In this English Tudor, we used a pair of bronzed geese placed carefully on the hearth. They create an interesting visual focal point when there’s no fire lit. The arch of their necks draws the eye upwards to a stunning piece of art, and the right flowers in the vase play homage to the vivid colors in the canvas. In this instance, the fireplace and mantel become a complete design package.
Monochromatic color. Consider using a monochromatic or restricted color palate for a subtle and classy alternative to a mantel that stands out. Choose accents, art, and accessories from the same color family, with maybe an object or two that pops out a bit more than the rest.
Prop rather than hang. If a formal living room isn’t your cup of tea, you can take the decor down just a notch by propping – rather than hanging – your art pieces and accents. I love the way this mantel looks with the layered art pieces, stacked books and arranged candles. It’s stylish and attractive, but everything about it says warm, homey and comfortable. This is a living room where all guests feel welcome.